For me, I read the poem and I thought it was a very good poem talking about learning about poetry. Not necessarily an Ars Poetica, but this is a poem, I feel, a lot of students, young or old, can relate to. The first stanza is very straight forward, "The poem is concerned with language on a very plain level. You look out a window. You miss each other. The poem is sad because it wants to be yours, and cannot.

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He grew up on a farm in nearby Sodus and was educated at Harvard and Columbia. After a Fulbright fellowship that took him to France, he stayed on and worked as an art critic for several newspapers and magazines, finally returning to become executive editor of Art News from to His long poem "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror" mixes critical analysis of a Renaissance painting by Parmigianino with reflections on his own mental process, though it lacks the cheerful surrealism and aggressive disjunctiveness of many of his shorter poems.

In his early work, his approach sometimes seemed anti-representational, with a focus on linguistic events and the structures of thought. As a result, he was often associated with abstract expressionist painting of the s and s. But as his witty incorporation of linguistic commonplaces and public speech was matched by the use of multiple references to popular culture, his work became more accessible and his project more distinctive.

Rapid changes in focus and mood still marked his poems, but he was now questioning how a commodified world might shape human consciousness. He is thus perhaps the poet who has thought most deeply about the mental life that mass culture grants to us. In the process, he came to doubt the plausibility of any coherent selfhood or the credibility of a conventionally coherent narrative. He stresses that language is something to be challenged and played with.

He has withstood the twentieth-century as a powerful writer and influencer. With more awards and grants under his belt, Ashbery continues to awe his supporters. With a few works dedicated to art itself, Ashbery is not only a poet but an intellectual closely associated with life and art. He is fascinated by the human consciousness which is expressed in his poetry.

His works imply that the world around us influences us as much as we influence it. He utilizes his form and structure to show these concepts. Whether or not you find Ashbery a difficult read, his poetry is still the work of intelligence and genuine talent. John Ashbery has deconstructed and constructed language in various forms that grabs the attention of many generations and backgrounds.


John Ashbery

They veer as the mind often does, and so within each of his poems readers encounter a diversity of images, tones, and sonic elements. Each of his lines tends to approach from a slightly different angle, or with a slightly or at times abruptly different tone. But what is it to grasp a poem? To get it? Are we really letting the poem down?


Paradoxes and Oxymorons by John Ashbery: Summary and Analysis

Read More Writing Ideas 1. Try writing another poem that addresses poetry or language. Paradoxes are statements that, though contradictory, are true; oxymorons also combine contradictory terms. What are some of the paradoxes in the poem? Some of the oxymorons?


Introduction & Overview of Paradoxes and Oxymorons

The paradox at the heart of "Paradoxes and Oxymorons" is that what is revealed, in a text that represents a subject, is the very representationality of that subject. Phrased as an oxymoron, the subject is true fiction. This fiction of the subject, furthermore, is highly unstable. While the poem plays at being "plain"-spoken, it is too indeterminate for the speaker objectified as "you" to comprehend. And while he indirectly claims systematicity for poetic language in stanza two, that systematicity immediately turns out to involve "play. The poem hints at hexameter, hints at accentual verse, and hints at end rhyme, without systematically practicing any of these.


John Ashbery: “Paradoxes and Oxymorons”

Look at it talking to you. You look out a window Or pretend to fidget. You miss it, it misses you. You miss each other.

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